Most of us get our drinking water from the tap at home or work, but do you know what is in it and if it is safe to drink?  Recently some city utilities are finding that the drinking water they are providing to its citizens is contaminated and unsafe to drink.

Drinking water or potable water is defined as water that is safe to drink or use for food preparation without risk of health problems. (1)  Drinking water is essential for life and most adults require around 8 glasses per day.  In the United States the average family consumes 69.3 gallons per day. (2)  Since we require and consume large amounts of drinking water each and every day, it is imperative that the water we drink is safe.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards for tap and public water systems in the United States under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  With its partners the EPA implements various technical and financial programs to ensure drinking water safety.  It is surprising then that recently several cities are finding that their drinking water is unsafe for its citizens to use or drink.

The areas with unsafe drinking water are scattered throughout the country and some are local.  In June of 2013 researchers from Duke University detected methane in drinking water in Pennsylvania.  They found that bubbly methane was prevalent in some water wells within 1 kilometer of gas drilling sites.  In January of 2016 President Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan because lead had seeped into the drinking water causing a major health crisis.  They city had switched its water supply source and the new supply pipes sustained major corrosion causing lead to leach into the water.

Locally the Tacoma Utility District revealed high levels of lead were found in homes it served in the city and many of the Tacoma schools tested positive for high levels of lead in the water.  As a result of the findings in Tacoma the Seattle Public Utility conducted tests and concluded that the drinking water in Seattle is safe.  While the water the city of Seattle supplies is safe, if your home or workplace has older or corroding pipes, lead can leach into the tap water.

What can you do to ensure your drinking water is safe?  Seattle Public Utilities advises people to run the tap water for 2 minutes before using the water.  Always obtain water for drinking or food preparation from the cold tap.  If you are making changes to your plumbing select low lead or no lead fixtures.

To test your home drinking water you can contact a certified lab in your area listed on the WA State Department of Ec9oloty Website.  The cost of an analysis ranges from $25 to $50.

  1. Wikipedia Website.  (2016). Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  2. Wikipedia Website.  (2016). Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
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